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Lula presents new plan against illegal deforestation
June 6, 2023
Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva presented a plan to end illegal deforestation in the Amazon by 2030, yesterday. The Action Plan for the Prevention and Control of Deforestation in the Amazon creates a coordinated policy across more than a dozen ministries in Brazil’s government.
It calls for boosted use of intelligence and satellite imagery to track criminal activity, regularization of land titles and use of a rural registry to monitor correct management of forests considered vital for slowing global climate change.
"I'm committed to resuming Brazil's global leadership in mitigating climate change and controlling deforestation," Lula said in speech on the event to launch the plan.
Lula’s administration also pledged to achieve net zero deforestation, that is, replanting as much as is cut down, by restoring native vegetation stocks as compensation for legal vegetation removal.
Brazil is the world’s fifth-largest emitter of greenhouse gases, with almost 3% of global emissions. Almost half of Brazil’s carbon emissions come from deforestation.
The measures are also a response to recent limitations Brazilian lawmakers placed on the Environment Ministry.
Efforts to stop upgrades to the Br-319 route through the Amazon — connecting Porto Velho and Manaus — have faltered due to pressure from right wing politicians in Brazil. The road improvements could be devastating for a relatively untouched area of the rainforest, reports the Guardian.
Environmental crime’s significant impact on climate change, pollution and biodiversity makes it essential to develop effective strategies to disrupt it. A new study by Igarapé Institute delves into the dynamics, scale, and scope of the nexus between illicit financial flows and environmental crime, especially in the Amazon Basin, and recommends countries in the region to shift to collaborative, preventive measures.
A growing political scandal in Colombia — involving close allies of President Gustavo Petro, alleged abuse of power and potential irregular campaign financing — threatens to derail the government’s ambitious reform agenda, reports the Associated Press.
Colombia’s lower chamber of Congress said it would freeze debates on government-backed social reforms, yesterday, in order to shield the measures from the impact of the scandals rocking the government coalition. The move makes it unlikely the bills will pass before the end of the legislative session on June 20, reports Reuters.
Colombian attorney general Francisco Barbosa scrapped an arrest warrant for ELN leader Antonio Garcia, at Petro’s request as part of ongoing peace negotiations with the country’s largest remaining guerrilla group. (AFP)
An Argentine federal judge dismissed long-standing money laundering charges against Vice President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, after prosecutors and state agencies said there was no evidence she was involved in a crime in the so-called “K money trail” case, reports the Associated Press.
But Argentina’s judiciary has little credibility, which means voters will likely interpret the ruling as a ratification of their political leanins: either that the former president is the victim of judicial persecution, or that she pressured the court into letting her off the hook. “The Argentine justice system is infiltrated by politics,” political consultant Lucas Romero told the Associated Press. “The federal courts are absolutely influenced by political interests from both sides.”
Lula’s proposal to create a regional currency has potential, but he needs to better explain the benefits for the region — beyond anti-imperialism — for the plan to actually be adopted, argues James Bosworth in World Politics Review.
South American unity is more important than ever “in a world which is progressively divided in blocs. I think, in a world like that, even a country like Brazil — which is very populous and has a huge economy — is not big enough alone,” Lula foreign policy advisor Celso Amorim told Al Jazeera.
The European Commission has said it is a priority to conclude a long-delayed trade deal with South America's Mercosur bloc. The EU hopes the move will form part of new alliances aimed at reducing its dependence on China and the United States, according to a document seen by Reuters.
Panama launched a security operation along its shared border with Colombia, last week, to combat criminal gangs and migrant smugglers involved in Darien Gap migration — part of efforts agreed on with the governments of the U.S. and Colombia, reports the Associated Press.
A magnitude 5.5 earthquake struck Haiti’s southwest region early this morning, destroying homes and creating panic in the country’s Grand’Anse region — at least two fatalities were already confirmed. Heavy rains in the area over the weekend washed away parts of a main bridge and left a trail of disaster, reports the Miami Herald.
Claude Prepetit, a geologist and engineer with Haiti’s Bureau of Mines and Energy, told Radio Caraibes that smaller earthquakes that occurred earlier this year in southern Haiti led to the bigger one that struck today. (Associated Press)
At least 42 people were killed by the weekend’s rains and flooding. Videos circulating on social media depicted dramatic scenes as heavy flooding made some roadways look like flowing rivers with vehicles floating away, reports the New York Times.
Lack of preparation ahead of the rainy season made the damage a lot worse, according to Haitian media collective DÈYÈ MÒN ENFO.
The “Bukele Model” of heavy-handed punitive security measures features heavily in Guatemala’s presidential campaign, reports the Associated Press. Candidates are promising to emulate El Salvador’s mano dura security policy against gangs, particularly building mega prisons for alleged criminals.
The privatization of beaches and the controversial sale of prime heritage or beachfront sites to developers have become normalized throughout the Caribbean, writes Kenneth Mohammed in the Guardian. This leaves ”citizens’ access to public spaces threatened as the region’s natural beauty and cultural birthright is jeopardized.” (See April 13’s Just Caribbean Updates.)